For its latest take on augmented reality playsets, Lego puts the young, and the downright young at heart, a spin on the viral lipsync format popularized by TikTok with Lego Vidiyo.
The game blends TikTok’s video creation and management features with a music business simulation that puts your playsets into action. But if you want to make it in the music business somewhere, boy, you need a manager. Or someone to guide you through the scene. I can do that for you, and I’m not even asking for a percentage of your earnings.
So here we go, let’s get started with Lego Vidiyo.
: Install the app
To get started, you only need the Lego Vidiyo app. If you want to expand the experience further, you will need to purchase a Vidiyo Beatbox or Bandmates playset.
You also need a smartphone or tablet that can run ARKit for iOS or ARCore for Android. These are the toolkits that allow apps to use your mobile device’s sensors to display AR content.
- For iOS this means at least an iPhone 6S. 6S. Plus, or SE (1st generation), an iPad (5th generation), iPad Pro (2nd generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), or iPad Mini (5th generation), or an iPod touch (7th generation). You also need at least iOS 12.1.
- For Android, your device must have Android 7.0 or higher and be Google Play Store certified. Google maintains a list of ARCore-supported devices to check.
Step 2: Set up the app
When opening the app, you will learn that the app will eventually need to download about 320MB of additional data. You can delay this until later, which means the app will download new content when needed. Or you can just take the patch off now and download the full package now. Your choise.
Then press play on the home screen to continue. The app then asks for your year of birth. Swipe the slider to the left until the correct year appears, then tap “Confirm” to continue.
Finally, you must agree to at least one data collection policy. One policy concerns the data required for the app to function. The other policy is for experience data, which is optional but helps developers improve the app. Make your decisions, then tap the “Save Settings” button to continue.
Step 3: Start your band
After putting your device in landscape mode and watching a quick introductory video, you will need to grant camera permissions to the app, which are necessary for the AR experience. Press the play button and confirm the permissions in the popup window.
Before the fun part starts, you need to confirm whether you want to start with a digital tape mate or scan a playset. For the purposes of this guide, we will start with the first; you will later have the opportunity to scan in physical toys.
Now you are ready to start your rock star experience. Select the base minifig and tap the play button to continue. After a short loading screen, start customizing your avatar. Tap play again to bring your character to life and continue naming the band.
Band name selection is based on randomly generated combinations of relatively unrelated words that sound as if they could be band names. If you don’t like the former, click the refresh icon on the left for another option. Repeat until you land on a treat and then hit play.
Step 4: Film your first video
You haven’t even written a song yet, but you are already filming a music video? You must be a big deal.
First, you get three warnings about safe AR play. Tap play to confirm you understand.
This is where ARKit / ARCore comes into play. As your camera view appears, you’ll see digital overlays with dots indicating where the app has identified a flat surface, along with three circles that your band members will place themselves on. When you find a spot with enough space for the tire, the circles will change from red to green. (In real life, your band will just have to squeeze into the space the venue provides.)
Tap play on stage to record the band’s performance. Six tiles will appear on either side of the screen, along with a button at the bottom for your band member. Tap the tiles to enable special effects; some stay on until you tap the “x” to turn them off, others do their trick and end on its own. Tap the band member icon to start a special dance move.
Once your performance is complete, you will receive your scores. You earn in-game currency to achieve certain goals. Well done!
Step 5: Explore the game
Now that you’ve shot your first video, the game will open for you (and for now, the app will return to portrait mode). On the home screen, you will find five options: Social, Gallery, Games, Bands and Scan.
Social is the TikTok-esque part of the game. The For You section is a curated feed of performances from other players that you can watch, comment on, or comment on, along with the occasional recommended song for your next performance. The Discover section is a grid of videos from others that you can scroll through or filter with the tags at the top.
The Activities section is the challenge section of the game, where you can claim rewards in the form of in-game coins for filming performances that meet set goals, such as using as many BeatBits as possible or playing along with a hit.
Gallery contains the content you captured organized under videos, photos and shared. You can share any videos or photos you have taken with the Vidiyo network, but you must log in to an existing Lego account or create a new one.
Sharing photos is easy, but for videos you need to trim your video to five, 10 or 20 seconds, using the timeline to select your favorite part. Before sharing your content, you can add an emoji message and add up to six tags about your video.
Play is where you generate new videos. First you select your song, with six free options under Daily Mix and more songs you unlocked by scanning a Bandmate you purchased. Then you select your band (at this point you have one option, but it may change soon). Then press play to continue as you did in step 4.
Bands is where you manage your artists, and there’s a lot going on here. You already have your default tire and you can tap it to adjust it and view the performance stats.
From the band editor screen, tap the Customize button to give your band members a new look with items in your inventory or to buy new accessories from the store (where the coins you earned in Step 4 come into play).
Tap the band name to remix the name with the name generator (you can lock and rotate words you like for new ones) and choose a logo style.
The band layout allows you to customize how the band appears on stage, with backup dancers and uprights among the options.
You can also do a photo shoot, with options available for poses, backgrounds, filters, and band logos, with photos collected in the Gallery.
Finally, you can manage the band members by adding artists from your selection or jumping through the scan mode.
Scan is where you should own a playset. Even if you don’t have one yet, you can preview the available band members and even preview the moves with the audition mode.
I haven’t had the opportunity to scan in frames yet, but the process is very useful to prevent people from just scanning pictures of the figures. You need to attach the Bandmate on top of the stage it comes with, and place the BeatBits tiles on the front pins to get the correct configuration to scan the character and effects in the game.
All in all, it’s an intriguing approach to cater to kids who may be too young to actually have a TikTok account. Plus, it’s a contrasting aesthetic from the fantasy and adventure setups and licensed properties that Lego typically sells. Add in some augmented reality magic, and Lego might have something here.